Africa is such a vibrant continent, filled with such diverse cultures. We are truly blessed to be able to gain first-hand inspiration from this iconic interior style and all that it encompasses. From countries like Morocco and Egypt in the North all the way to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana in the south, each country has its own, unique style, but there are a lot of similarities that we can draw together and incorporate into our everyday, contemporary interiors. Here are a few key African elements that are trending in 2020.
Use of colour – from neutral, earthy tones to vibrant hues
Earthy tones are colours that draw inspiration from the outdoors. These include shades of green, rich tans and browns, mustard yellow and even deep terra cotta and clay hues. We have a variety of African landscapes to draw inspiration from, beautiful beaches, bush, grasslands, cities, rural towns and deserts. A neutral colour palette does not need to be boring – it often creates a very homely interior with a sense of warmth. If you are looking to incorporate earthy tones into your interior, have a look outside and take inspiration from your surroundings. It works well to incorporate colours from the view or outlook of the room. Accenting a neutral space with a vibrant colour piece can give the room some energy. Think a vibrant colourful artwork, a feature wall painted or wallpapered or even re-upholstering a single piece of furniture in a bright colour.
Baskets and all things woven and handmade
This is one of my favorite trends at the moment! I love including the natural textures of anything woven into the spaces I am creating. It adds such warmth and rustic charm to the room. One of my favourite types of baskets are the Bohero baskets made from plant fibres (river reeds) by the Bohero people who live on the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Originally used for storing food and carrying grains and seeds, these baskets have so many uses and are gorgeous even if purely decorative!
Another way we are truly blessed is how we can capture any African image and turn it into an artwork, whether it be a beautiful African landscape, a portrait or even an indigenous plant. The options are endless and the opportunity to bring texture and colour into the interior through a feature photographic artwork is fantastic! Three of my favorite photographic artists right now are David Ballam, Clinton Friedman and Casey Crafford.
Other African textures and patterns
The use of contrasting elements within an interior can really bring it to life. The use of raw wood with leather complimented by natural textiles can really speak of an idyllic African landscape. One can create a picture and feeling within the space just by bringing in different natural textures and patterns. The use of animal prints has also become popular for small patterned pieces of furniture and décor elements. As think about beadwork and woodcarvings.
African inspired furniture
There are many talented furniture designers in South Africa. A few of my favourites are:
Egg Designs describes themselves as, “a unique perspective in contemporary furniture inspired with a soul that is deeply rooted in the African continent.” Which just captures the beauty of what they create so perfectly. “That’s why every piece we craft comes from Africa and carries within it a part of the African soul. We’re a melting pot of tribal craft, African heritage and modern luxurious expression.”
Ardmore is also a firm favorite of mine. They transform African art into global designs ranging from fabric collections, bespoke pieces of furniture to table linen and décor pieces. Each design is unique, and they really do push the boundaries with their take on African style. Their vibrant designs are playful, creative and colourful. A stunning way to incorporate an African look into your interior space.